Islanders find a way to lose late to Canucks
The Islanders continue to be unable to overcome their mistakes
Thursday night’s turnover-prone 4-3 loss to the Canucks to open a six-game homestand at UBS Arena was just another example.
"We have a veteran group that should be able to handle it," coach Barry Trotz said. "But we haven’t been able to do it. There’s good things in our game that you’d like. But every mistake we make seems to end up in the back of our net, where last year and maybe the year before, it didn’t."
A defensive lapse and a turnover turned into the Canucks’ equalizing and go-ahead goals within 45 seconds in the third period as the Islanders (20-23-8) fell 19 points behind the Capitals for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders were returning from a 2-2-1 western road trip in which they played well enough to win four of the five games. The same could be said for this loss to the Canucks.
"I thought our game had enough substance tonight where we’d get a point," Trotz said. "We don’t. And that’s probably been the frustrating part of the whole thing."
Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves for the Islanders. Thatcher Demko stopped 24 shots for the Canucks (27-23-6), who have won six of eight.
Anthony Beauvillier gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead at 1:49 of the third period, stripping the puck from Brock Boeser in the offensive zone, getting to the crease and squirting the puck past Demko before Boeser knocked it over the goal line.
But Nils Hoglander slipped below the Islanders’ defense to redirect Conor Garland’s pass for the tying goal at 9:34 as Kyle Palmieri and Zach Parise seemed to confuse their defensive assignments. Vasily Podkolzin’s wrist shot from the left off defenseman Scott Mayfield’s neutral-zone turnover gave the Canucks a 4-3 lead at 10:19.
"We put ourselves in a position to win," said Palmieri, whose one-timer off defenseman Adam Pelech’s feed tied the score at 2 at 18:20 of the second period for his sixth goal in nine games. "You look back at the second period, our puck management wasn’t great, but Varly made some big saves. Beau made a great play to give us a lead. We just had a tough time breaking pucks out cleanly and sustaining pressure down there, so when you give a team like that extended looks in our defensive zone, it’s tough when they capitalize like that."
The scoresheet showed the Islanders with 10 giveaways, the same as the Canucks.
Trotz bemoaned the Islanders’ second-period puck management issues.
"Turnovers are like ex-wives," he said. "If you have too many, they cost you a lot. They cost you more and more. And that was the second period."
Defenseman Noah Dobson, extending his career high with his 10th goal, gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 3:37 of the second period with a shot through traffic from the right point.
Brad Hunt tied it at 1 at 7:19 of the second period with a sharp-angle slap shot from the left.
Potential trade bait J.T. Miller gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead at 11:50 of the second, getting between the circles to deflect Boeser’s shot and extending his point streak to eight games.
"This one hurts," Brock Nelson said. "Coming back after a long trip, everybody’s excited to be home. A little sloppy in the second, but we found a way to have the lead in the third. You’d like to think we could hang on to it. But a couple of quick plays and that was the difference. Turnovers led to some of their offense."